Monthly Archives: March 2018

Food! Recipes! Tips!



Even though our wood stove is working overtime with the late winter storms we are having, I am still thinking Spring. I have some wonderful recipes to share with you. I have tried them all & they have become my go to recipes. I am also going to share some interesting subjects about food that I found in the various newsletters I receive. Let’s get started!

Our friend Teri Polley sent me a recipe for using up all those Easter eggs. She has avocado trees, yes~I am jealous, and came up with this simple, tasty way of using them. 
Deviled Avocado Eggs : You need 3 hard-boiled eggs; peeled & cut in half & 1 large avocado; pitted & peeled. Mash the avocado flesh with the 3 cooked egg yolks & add the following:

  • 1 tsp. cilantro chopped
  • 3 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp red onion
  • a pinch of salt and pepper

Scoop the mixture into the halves of the hard-boiled egg whites & top with a sprinkle of chili or paprika. Add a few cilantro leaves for garnish. Thank you Teri!

From Rodale’s Organic Life: How To Make Natural Easter Egg Dye Out Of Fruits, Vegetables, And Spices. “Color your Easter eggs without artificial dyes by doing it the old-fashioned way—with produce, vegetable scraps, and spices.”  BMarch 17, 2017

Other ideas: 19 All Natural Easter Egg Dyes to Make At Home, BY READER’S DIGEST EDITORS, “Skip the kit and try coloring Easter eggs naturally with homemade dyes that use coffee, onions, blueberries, and other kitchen finds.”

Speaking of eggs. Take a look at this slideshow from WebMD: Cheap, Healthy Foods Not only are these foods cheap & healthy, most of them are also high in protein.

My favorite quick, protein rich & healthy breakfast is a piece of organic pumpernickel bread with peanut butter, mashed banana & homemade marmalade on it. Very filling.

I love marmalade. My husband doesn’t, which means I am on my own when I buy a jar. I find that it is difficult to find a small jar of marmalade with no added sugar. I found this simple recipe on the DawnJacksonBlatner’s website: Aldi Chia Marmalade w/Cinnamon Toast, that I absolutely love! This is the way I make it just for me. It fits in a pint jar.

  • Zest one orange before you peel it. I also thinly slice a few pieces of the rind to add to the mix.
  • Place the orange sections into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. 
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Chia seeds, your zest & thinly sliced bits of peel & mix thoroughly.

Put it into a pint size canning jar & refrigerate for a few hours before using. The recipe I use doesn’t add any sweetener. I like it that way. 

You can use other fruits if you want a homemade jam. For 2 cups of fruit use 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. You can mash up part of the fruit, like blueberries or strawberries, & add it to the remaining whole berries. Then add the chia seeds & refrigerate for an hour or two before using. You could add a sweetener; a bit of honey, agave, maple syrup or stevia. Or just enjoy the fruit flavor. A bit of lemon juice or lime juice added will bring out the flavor too. Experiment!

The other protein rich favorite for my breakfast is Hummus on sprouted bread toasted or on the pumpernickel. I make this recipe a lot to have on hand as a dip or a spread for a veggie burger or just for a tomato sandwich. 

I have taken several hummus recipes & tweaked them to make one that I like. This is fast & easy to make yet oh so flavorful!

My Homemade Hummus

  • 15 ounce can of organic Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas) I drain the can but I do not rinse the beans. The aquafabe, the liquid that it is in, makes the hummus creamier & has a smoother taste to it. When I have time I sprout the beans & use them raw in the recipe. I find the canned ones give it a different flavor that I like better.
  • 1/2 cup Tahini paste. I know this looks expensive when you buy a jar, but you use only 1/2 cup each time. I watch for sales & buy a jar to have on hand.
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or lime juice. I use lemon for a more traditional taste but I do love the lime juice too.
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, chopped. I adore garlic & use 4 to 5 large cloves. If you aren’t a garlic fan then stick to 2 medium cloves.
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of salt. I taste test it with 3/4 teaspoon of salt then adjust it if I need to. 
  • 1/4 cup of water or you can use 1/4 cup of the aquafabe from the can you drained. It does give it a different taste, & the texture is lighter & creamier. I usually use just the  water.

You can use a blender or a food processor for this. Pulse the garbanzo beans a few times until they are broken up. Add the rest of the ingredients & puree until smooth & creamy. Place it in a bowl & drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top & sprinkle with a generous amount of Smoked Paprika. You can use plain paprika but I like the smokey flavor.

An evening meal without a salad is just wrong in my house 🙂 I had 2 fennel bulbs that I wanted to use. I found this easy, full of flavor recipe for a salad option: 10 Ways to Cook Fennel Tonight on the One Green Planet website.

Fennel Salad:

Dressing: Whisk together  I made the dressing ahead of time & put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to serve the salad. This dressing is delicious. Could be used for any salad you make.

  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon or Lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Agave (I used 1 as 2 would have been too sweet for me) 
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • 2 Fennel bulbs. Thinly sliced. I cut the bulb in half & thinly sliced them up to the stems. Keep some fronds to add to the salad for flavor & it looks pretty.
  • 3 or more celery stalks thinly sliced. Add the celery leaves to the salad too.
  • 2 oranges. Segments cut in thirds. I think mandarin or blood oranges would be really good too.
  • Walnuts, toasted. I also did this ahead of time. Gives it a nuttier taste. I used walnut halves chopped into fourths. Still chunky.

Throw salad together in bowl & add dressing. Combine. This is a great recipe to take to a potluck. The balanced flavors were wonderful.

Another recipe for spring that I have shared before, but is worth mentioning again, is a vegan Pesto recipe made with sunflower seeds rather than the traditional pinion nuts; nutritional yeast rather than Parmesan cheese; & less oil. I have made it with spinach leaves when basil wasn’t available. I would also like to try it with arugula. The recipe is by Renee Press on Plant Based on a Budget: Sunflower Seed Pesto  At the bottom of the recipe is an icon to print it out.

Sunflower Seed Pesto

Servings : 2, Prep Time : 10 minutes, Ready In: 10 minutes
This sunflower seed pesto is spectacular on pasta, veggies, pizza, toast. The light nuttiness of the sunflower seeds mixes with the punch of the fresh garlic, and the bright taste of basil wonderfully and really captures the essence of summer. The photo shows it mixed with gluten-free spaghetti and a mound of fresh vegetables. But it’s so tasty, anything goes. Double this recipe if you like it!

  • 1 cup basil
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar I left out the sugar in the recipe. Because it is such a small amount you can leave it in.
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice I am a lime person & tried it both ways. Both were delicious.

Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until creamy. Usually 1-2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Toss with warm pasta, spread on toast or pizza, use as a dip. The first time I made it I put it on Pasta. My taste tester was our very own Italian friend Alessandra Colfi! It passed the test. Whew 🙂 The next time I made it, we used it as a dip for cut up raw veggies. Another hit!

 DawnJacksonBlatner, Wow Nutrition: MAKE YOUR LEAFY GREENS LAST LONGER A few good tips on how to extend the life of your salad greens.

Another Spring salad that we like a lot is Mock Tuna Salad. I have put together my own version of this salad so that it was more colorful, adding in more antioxidants & flavor. This is another easy to make salad that can be used as a salad over a bed of greens or as a “tuna” salad sandwich. We also like it with whole grain crackers.

My Mock Tuna Salad

  • I can of garbanzo beans. I drain the beans but I don’t rinse them so I get the creaminess of the aquafaba liquid. Instead of the beans, you can crumble Tempeh. It gives it more of a tuna texture & a different flavor.
  • 1 cup of chopped raw celery.
  • 1 cup chopped scallions or spring onions. We use wild spring onions that grow like weeds around here 🙂
  • 1 cup of grated carrots. The orange makes the salad look pretty & adds those beta carotene’s.
  • 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed. Sometimes I will use 1/2 cup frozen peas & 1/2 cup of frozen corn just to be different 🙂 You can set them out to thaw or just rinse them in a colander with hot water. No need to cook them.
  • 1 tablespoon of relish. I don’t buy relish so I chopped up a dill pickle.
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard. You can use your favorite.
  •  1/3 to 1/2 cup of Vegenaise or whatever type of Mayonnaise you use. You want the salad creamy but not with a sauce!
  • Salt & pepper to taste.

I use my small food processor to pulse the garbanzo beans until they are broken up & looks sort of like tuna. If I am in a hurry I chop the veggies, except for the peas & corn, in the food processor one group at a time. Otherwise just chop them to the consistency that you prefer. Mix it all together & put it in the refrigerator for an hour to allow the flavors to merge. 

While I was chopping all those vegetables I saved the ends & peelings that I could use in making my own vegetable broth later in the week. We have a worm compost system. The ends that I don’t use go to them right away & the strained cooked veggies I used in the broth go to them later. I don’t like wasting foods.

I think it is safe to say that we are all on a tight budget. We want to be the healthiest version of ourselves that we can be by eating a plant based diet. To help you with this I want to share a link to EWG: Good Food on a Tight Budget Stretching your dollars to get a month’s worth of healthy, filling food is a challenge. EWG assessed nearly 1,200 foods and hand-picked the best 100 or so that pack in nutrients at a good price, with the fewest pesticides, contaminants and artificial ingredients. Enjoy! On the same page is a link to getting EWG’s  guide: “Good Food on a Tight Budget” booklet comes with our top tips for healthy eating, quick lists of best foods, tasty recipes and easy tools for tracking food prices and planning your weekly menu (a key step to cutting costs!). 
We hope it helps you find delicious, healthy food — and save money, too. 
You have to give them an email address for them to send it to you. You will be getting EWG updates from then on but you can always opt out. The guide is worth it.

A favorite dip of mine is Spinach Tofu Dip from the Food Network Kitchen. On their page is an icon to print out the recipe.

Directions: Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl and serve with raw vegetables.

Spinach Tofu Dip I recommend that you follow the original directions the first time to see if you like it. Then, if you want to try my version, go for it!

  • 2 scallions, coarsely chopped I use more, at least 6. I like the taste.
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled I use 4-5 medium cloves.
  • 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry I use a 16 ounce package of frozen spinach. It makes the dip very thick.
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne I used the 1/2 tsp. & it was perfect. If you use 16 ounces of spinach then increase this to 1 teaspoon of cayenne.
  • 1/4 pound silken tofu  Use the Organic Silken Tofu by MORI-NU that is in a 12.3 ounce box. These are great to have on hand to make dressings, sauces etc.
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice I use 3-4 tablespoons when using 16 ounces of spinach.
  • Splash sesame oil (optional) It adds a nice flavor if you have it on hand.
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce Use 2 tablespoons if you use the 16 ounces of spinach.

I enjoy cooking & experimenting on my acquaintances 🙂 We are going to a Potluck dinner this weekend. This dip reminds me a lot of Spanikopita. I am going to try something different. My plan is to use phyllo dough sheets,~ click for instructions on making triangles. I will use 2 sheets brushed with butter when layered & then cut into 5 strips. Add a dollop of the dip on one end & wrapping it into a triangle. Brush with vegan butter as it is wrapped. Bake them at 375 for 20 minutes until browned. I will let you know how it works.

***They turned out just like I had pictured them. They tasted like spanikopita with a “kick” from the cayenne. A definite hit! Another great idea for a potluck. You can also vary the size of the stuffed triangle depending on your intention; appetizer or entree.

While I was writing this post, I had a pot of pinto beans cooking. It occurred to me that I should serve them with a homemade salsa. I got out my new cookbook by Kim Campbell, the companion cookbook for the documentary PlantPure Nation: PlantPure Nation Cookbook I like this cookbook because the recipes are all familiar & easy to make. The first section of the book is about the ingredients that she uses & what each of them are. She has a salsa recipe called Corn Salsa. Of course I changed it a bit to meet my needs.

Basically I just threw all these ingredients into a jar, mixed it up & put it in the refrigerator for the flavors to blend before dinner tonight. You can adjust the amounts of each of these depending on your tastes.

  • Red onion chopped
  • Frozen corn thawed
  • Leftover cherry tomatoes chopped
  • 4 ounce can of chopped green chilies
  • Small bell peppers of varied colors chopped
  • Fresh cilantro chopped
  • Lime juice to taste
  • Salt to taste

While I was pulling the veggies for the salsa out of the refrigerator, I noticed that I still had a big cauliflower from last week. Instead of a brown rice mix, I will make cauliflower rice to round out the meal. Usually I place the florets into my food processor & pulse until it looks like rice. I add a small amount of olive oil to my pan & stir fry some garlic & onion until cooked then add the “rice”. As I stir fry it I add some turmeric, salt & pepper to taste. This time I am going to add Nutritional Yeast to make it “cheesy” to go with the Mexican food theme. Here is a good recipe for the same idea from OneGreenPlanet: CHEESY TURMERIC CAULIFLOWER RICE [VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE]

Yum, with a salad this stacked up to be a healthy, tasty meal 🙂

If you aren’t into cauliflower, here is a recipe for a jazzed up corn bread to go with the beans & salsa.  JalapenCornbread  I use a 4 ounce can of chopped green chilies instead of jalapenos. The first time I made them I didn’t have cornmeal but I did have course ground cornmeal for polenta & grits. It gave the cornbread a nutty texture & tasted great. I also bake them in a cupcake pan. Hope you try these.

DESSERTS!  couldn’t choose just one recipe for desert. Here are links to some amazing looking baked goods. I included both vegan, gluten-free & vegetarian links.

I write a lot about a plant based diet or moving towards a plant based diet. What does that mean? Does it mean being a vegetarian or a vegan? I will look at all the definitions out there & try to make some sense out of it for us. I will include a plan to reach your goal of a healthier you. I will also share more recipes.

Until next week…Mary 🙂

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest! Click on the icon at the beginning of the post. I have an Easter section. 

“Let Food Be Thy Medicine”



I firmly believe what Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” Eating a plant based, whole foods, balanced diet is the only path to a healthy body. As Michael Pollan put it, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” 

I am loving this! Corporations that own large food companies are having a difficult time financially because more people are asking for healthy foods that are not ultra-processed & contain fewer unhealthy ingredients. According to a Nielsen report the purchasing of foods that are less-processed has risen 15% since 2014. 

Take a look at this Nielsen Report from 2015: We Are What We Eat: Healthy eating trends around the world.  Scroll down to Natural foods With Beneficial Ingredients Are Most Desirable: “When it comes to the foods we eat, consumers are going back to the basics. We asked respondents to rate health attributes from very important to not important in their purchase decisions. The most desirable attributes are foods that are fresh, natural and minimally processed. Foods with all natural ingredients and those without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are each considered very important to 43% of global respondents—the highest percentages of the 27 attributes included in the study. In addition, about four-in-10 global respondents say the absence of artificial colors (42%) and flavors (41%) and foods made from vegetables/fruits (40%) are very important” YES!!!

Another article by Nielsen Insights: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ‘CLEAN’ IN TODAY’S FMCG MARKET 08-21-2017 In this report, 68% of those who resoponded said that they were willing to pay more for foods that contain less ingredients that they think are unhealthy. 53% said that products with fewer undesirable ingredients was more important to them than seeing ingredients that they considered healthy. At the bottom of this report is a link to Undesirable IngredientsOne of the most comprehensive lists that I have seen.

Bear with me in this next section. It does pertain to what I have said so far; people are turning towards a healthier diet. Yet they are changing their diet because of what they read on the internet or in the health news of major & minor news sources. Let me give you an example.

Every week I see an important new study about a particular food that decreases the risk or improves the survival rate of a particular cancer. This week it is about tree-nuts & colon cancer. Tree-nuts include: almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, filberts, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios & walnuts. Peanuts are a legume, they don’t count.

Yale News: Nut Consumption May Aid Colon Cancer Survival, by Anne Doerr, February 28, 2018 This study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, by lead author Charles Fuchs, the director of Yale Cancer Center. The study followed 826 stage 3 colon cancer patients in a clinical trial. Colon cancer patients who ate at least two 1-ounce servings of tree-nuts per week had a 42% increase in a disease-free survival rate & a 57% increase in overall survival. These results were based on self-reporting of dietary intake over 6 1/2 years. This is an interesting article. The funding for the study is in the last paragraph 🙂

Here is the actual study if you are interested.: Nut Consumption and Survival in Patients With Stage III Colon Cancer: Results From CALGB 89803 (Alliance) 

That study has important information for us. It is not the only dietary change that would help. When I googled research on foods that reduce colon cancer I found these articles. Notice that the articles focus on dietary changes & exercise not on one particular food, mineral or vitamin.

My point here is that I can find research for any type of cancer regarding reducing the risk & increasing the survival rate. The results are overwhelming similar; a change in lifestyle, diet & exercise. Even though we see studies about a particular food, for example tree nuts & colon cancer, eating just that food along with the standard American diet will not reduce the risk significantly, if at all. 

The results of research studies as to what is the best diet & lifestyle to reduce the risk & increase the survival rate of people with chronic diseases, including cancer & obesity, always comes back to these points.

  • Lifestyle changes; no smoking & reducing alcohol intake.
  • Exercise daily. This depends on your ability not someone else’s formula. Even 5-10 minutes a day is a good start.
  • Eating a healthy balanced plant based diet. Mediterranean diet or one similar.
  • Cutting out or back on processed foods & added sugar. Read those  labels & the ingredient list.
  • Portion control. If you’re paying attention to serving sizes, eating until you are sated, not stuffed, then you are taking in the nutrients needed in the amounts the body needs to function. 

This is a list from the Physicians Committee of Responsible Medicine, PCRM  to reduce the risk of cancers. 

Applying the Precautionary Principle to Diet and Cancer: Six Tips to Reduce the Occurrence of Cancer

  1. Avoid dairy products to reduce risk of prostate cancer.
  2. Limit or avoid alcohol to reduce the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colon, rectum, and breast.
  3. Avoid red and processed meat to reduce the risk of cancers of the colon and rectum.
  4. Avoid grilled, fried, and broiled meats to reduce the risk of cancers of the colon, rectum, breast, prostate, kidney, and pancreas.
  5. Women should consume soy products in adolescence to reduce risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer survivors should consume soy products to reduce risk of cancer recurrence and overall mortality.
  6. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to reduce risk of several forms of cancer.

This is very exciting news! In the Newsletter this week from T.Colin Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies was this article: Center for Nutrition Studies Donates $1.5 Million to Highland Hospital for New Nutrition Research Program  By  Highland Hospital in Rochester, NY will receive a $1.5 million donation from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies for a new nutrition research program. Lead by Thomas M. Campbell II, M.D., and Erin Campbell, M.D., M.P.H., this significant research venture will focus on plant-based nutrition and will be part of Highland’s new Weight Management & Lifestyle Center.

Initial research done through Highland’s Weight Management & Lifestyle Center will focus on nutrition and cancer. The pilot project will be a first-of-its-kind study that looks at the effects of plant-based nutrition in patients with advanced breast cancer, who are also receiving conventional therapy. The Center plans to do additional studies on nutrition as an intervention in a variety of diseases, partnering with experts in various specialties at the University of Rochester.

The reason I am excited about this study is because it will center on a plant based diet while undergoing conventional treatment. “This type of diet avoids or minimizes meat, dairy, and processed foods, including added fats and sugars. A plant-based diet includes pastas, breads, rice, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables.” It will be done by Dr. Campbell, who wrote The China Study. This is important because he has constructed other programs that were testing a vegan diet on the general population in parts of Kentucky who signed up to correct health issues. The outcome of those tests were very impressive. Can’ wait to see the results of this clinical trial!  

To find out more, visit

I am heartened to see that globally people are turning to healthy, basic, whole foods to eat. It gives hope to the idea of decreasing cancer & other chronic diseases & ending obesity. Moliere appears to be the first to say, (in a comedy he wrote in 1668 called “The Miser”): “One should eat to live, not live to eat”. What this means to me is that we should be preparing & eating healthy balanced meals to nourish & sustain our bodies. I think it also means that these meals should be eaten with friends & family when possible & sitting down at a table. It should be a community/family ritual. Food is our medicine but so is the camaraderie & love we get when sharing it with others in a mindful way.

Until next week…Mary 🙂